This year Ocean was feeling a bit out of sorts. She had experienced many changes over her billions of years; change was nothing new. But something was different this time. The changes she was noticing were happening in just a few decades - overnight in geologic terms. So Ocean decided she’d better have a check-up to see what was gong on.
“It’s a good thing you came in,” Doc said shaking his head. “Let me show you what we’ve found. Take a look at these chem panels on your water. Who have you been palling around with? This is a dramatic increase in carbonic acid!” Doc said gravely.
“Well, you know that Atmosphere and I hang out 24/7. He told me he’s porking-up on CO2 (carbon dioxide) from all the fossil fuels humans have been burning. I have to confess; he’s been sharing it with me,” Ocean replied.
“So THAT’s the problem!” Doc shot back. “Do you know that up to 40% of Atmosphere’s CO2 dissolves into you? You’ve got more acid than a truckload of Tums could cure! No wonder your coral reefs are dying. Coral and other calcifying (shelled) organisms can’t develop protective shells in your acidic waters.
“And look at this,” Doc continued. “I’m seeing an unhealthy, rapidly increasing number of ugly ‘dead zones.’ Out of control algae and phytoplankton blooms die and sink to your bottom. While decomposing they consume all the oxygen creating an area where little or nothing can live. Runoff from fertilizers, sewage and added carbon help create these enormous blooms. Now you’ve developed over 400 dead zones, some as large as the state of New Jersey! …And don’t get me started on your litter-filled beaches!” Doc reprimanded.
Ocean decided to seek help from the most intelligent life form on the planet – humankind. Here’s her letter:
I desperately need your help to stay healthy. Please find a way to reduce your carbon emissions into Atmosphere because much of it ends up in ME. And remember what you learned in grade school – reduce, reuse & recycle, or I’m not going to get well. Because we’re in this together - forever…Earthbound.